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It doesn’t take much to please me. Put on some cartoons, hand over some unsweetened iced tea, or give me a digital sword and I’ll tell you just about anything. Turns out that a lot of mobile gamers are the same way.

A new study by Forrester Research, a consulting and analytics company, found that people hate in-game ads more than banner ads on websites or video. The report, which mobile ad company Tapjoy commissioned, reveals that 74 percent of people find popup in-game ads annoying. That number is 65 percent for banner ads on webpages as well as on YouTube videos. In fact, Forrester found that 40 percent of smartphone gamers feel “negatively” about the brands and products that appear in the ads — but that number decreases drastically when marketers give players in-app rewards for interacting with ads.

Rewarded advertising takes a few forms. If a gamer watches a 30-second ad, it may unlock a new stage. Or if a smartphone owner follows a link to install a new app, they may get a special digital item. People crave in-game rewards so much that 74 percent of consumers will hand over their email address in exchange for some kind of goodies. More than half will hand over their gender, age, and ethnicity for a reward.

“Consumers are not only embracing rewarded advertising, [but] they prefer it, and this Forrester survey shows why,” Tapjoy chief marketing officer Peter Dille said in a statement. “Consumers want control over the experience and to be empowered with the choice of which ad to engage with, and the rewarded model accomplishes that while driving stronger brand sentiment.”


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A chart that shows consumers dislike in-game ads more than most other marketing formats.

Above: A chart that shows consumers dislike in-game ads more than most other marketing formats.

Image Credit: Forrester

While free-to-play games dominate the mobile landscape, a lot of people see popups as an interruption and not as the revenue stream that enables many of these apps to exist. Free-to-play design often puts pressure on players in a number of ways in an effort to encourage them to spend money on in-app purchases — this is likely one of the reasons many don’t see the game itself as a reward for sitting through ads. Rewarded campaigns are a way of making people feel like they are part of the bargain.

“Rewarded in-app advertising takes into account just how personal our mobile devices are and the fact that we’re in a different mindset when we use them,” said Dille. “Rewarded advertising respects the consumer’s role in the advertising ecosystem, which is why advertisers that use it are seeing higher brand affinity and deeper engagements than any other type of advertising.”












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